Review Post: The Perks of Being A Wallflower

The Perks of Being A Wallflower

The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Title : The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Author : Stephen Chbosky
Publisher : MTV Books
Pages : 213 Pages
Year of Publication : 2012 (first published in 1999)
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Coming-of-age, Contemporary
Bought from : – ( I got the free e-book ^.^)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sidelines forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

 

 

***

“Do you always think that much, Charlie?”

Here I am now, after a long, long time not updating this lovely place of mine, greeting you with a new book to review, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Well, not a new piece, but I guess most of people here in Indonesia, especially the teenagers, haven’t read this novel. I really think this is a good novel for teens so it kinda pushes me to ask you, Indonesian teenagers, to read this and meet Charlie.

By the way, I forgot to mention that this book has been adapted into movie, starring Logan Lerman (the most charming man in Hollywood), Emma Watson (an adorable British girl-turned-woman), and Ezra Miller (hooooot!). Some, or perhaps, most of you have watched the movie version and had known the story plot, but I assure you that you need to read the book too! Really!!! Why? I’m gonna tell you!!

Okay, I’m gonna start with the synopsis.

“(To Charlie)He’s a wallflower … You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand. “

As you probably already knew, the main character of this story is a 15-year-old boy named Charlie, who just lost his friend, the one and only, who committed suicide and at the same time got in high school with no friends left. Charlie wasn’t really close to anyone outside his family member; the closest one with him is his big bro who’s an excellent baseball player, which brought him to continue his school to Penn State, while his elder sister’s quite hot-blooded but sometimes nice towards him. He with his parents was just like any other kids with their parents, I think. But the most impactful person to him was probably his mother’s late sister, Aunt Helen. Charlie had been so close towards her that he still remembered her in every single thought of his.

“…Even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad…I don’t think I have it any better or worse than she does… maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there…it’s okay to feel things. And be who you are about them.”

And after his friend, Michael, left him to go to another world, Charlie had none to be friend at school. For some times, school days seemed so tough for him. But he never told anyone, not his parents, his sister, even his brother, except his ‘friend’. He wrote a letter to his ‘friend’, containing story of everything happened in his life, thought, feeling, and emotion he had toward people around him, and hope he had for them. He was asked by his therapist to do this due to something ‘disturbing’ from the past that affected him until then, but still unable to be figured out.

But those tough days softened when Charlie could get close with his English teacher, Bill. Charlie enjoyed the class for he had an enjoyment in literature a lot and Bill really was glad with that fact. Bill asked Charlie to read more literatures and write an essay for every book afterwards. Charlie enjoyed it a lot, including the time after class he had with Bill to discuss the book he read. Then more good days came when Charlie got to know Patrick and fell in love with his step sister, Sam, and could get close with both of them.

“Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.”

Patrick and Sam were really different with Charlie. Charlie was a vivid thinker, a very sensitive guy, so caring for others’ feeling, and a kind of homie-guy, even his own sister called him freak once. Patrick was quite frantic, so open about what he thought and what he felt, a risk-loving one, a party-guy, and Sam was pretty (according to Charlie), fun, ever known as a ‘blow-girl’ something, but deep inside she had a low self-esteem. Even so, they could hang out together. Patrick and Sam invited Charlie to their life which was containing of party, theater show, Saint-day, and many things, including introducing him to their senior  friends,  Mary Elizabeth (becoming his first girlfriend even though he’s so much in love with Sam), Bob, Craig, and Alice. Charlie finally got to know them deeper.

“I just think it’s bad when a boy looks at a girl and thinks that they way he sees the girl is better than the girl actually is. And I think it’s bad when the most honest way a boy can look at a girl is through a camera. It’s very hard for me to see Sam feel better about herself just because an older boy sees her that way.”

But the thing about Charlie was he kept everything he thought and felt inside himself. And like I said before, he’s a vivid thinker, so vivid that he never actually did things. Almost everything he wanted to do only ended up in his brain. He was too selfless and too sensitive of other people’s feeling that he did not want to tell them what he’s feeling only not to ruin their mood, to hurt their heart. That is why Bill once asked him to ‘participate in life’. That is why Sam told him not to ‘just sit there and … do things’.

Then I feel like hugging Charlie. If he were my brother or friend, I would.

And when I knew what’s going on with him and Aunt Helen back when he was very little, I felt really sad… Actually I have already known from watching the movie, but Charlie told me explicitly what’s happening and it made my heart more…broken? I really can’t comprehend. So terrible =(

“I’m not the way I am because of what I dreamt and remembered about my aunt Helen. That’s what I figured out when things got quiet. And I think that’s very important to know…I know what happened was important and I needed to remember it… I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”

I don’t know but I really got hooked. The glossaries were just simple and easily understood and the plot itself only had a few twists (and only one significant twist at the end of story) but I was really impressed with Charlie. How complicated his life became, due to his too-much ponderings. How he was able to press his needs and wants for the sake of others. How hard he tried to understand everyone and their motives. How brave he was to fight for his friends. How thoughtful he was. How wise actually he was for his age. And he was only 15.

I wondered how my 15-year-old me had been seven years ago.

But well, Charlie was too self-pushing, right?

I hope all teenagers read this; everything that is parts of teens’ life are summed up well here, dilemma, family problem, sex, drugs, risk-taking moments, love, school. I myself wish I had read this novel back then so that I would not only think about love so shallow, or see myself superior over my friends, and ponder more, think more, care more like Charlie. And for those who have teenage sisters and brothers, especially who loves reading, this book is a recommended gift for them.

“The good news is that I read the book, and because of its fantasy nature, I could pretend that I was in the book. That way I could participate and still read.”

In fact, I am disappointed with my review about this book. I feel like I could not represent what’s on my mind really well. Charlie!!!!! By the way, by reading this novel, I finally figured out why Charlie’s called ‘a wallflower’. Well, the movie explained it but I just couldn’t get it. Perhaps I can through the book for it gave me a greater picture of Charlie’s experience.

One statement that I like from this book  :

“I feel infinite”  

And I do now =)

PS : Though the movie version wasn’t adapting this book fully, I still love it! it’s recommended too for teenagers!!
Rating : 5/5

Book Review : Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Paper Towns
Title : Paper Towns  
Author : John Green
Publisher : Speak
Pages : 305 Pages
Year of Publication : 2009 (First published in 2008)
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Adventure
Bought from : Books and Beyond (SunPlaza)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
***
Of five John Green’s books that were displayed in the bookstores, I chose to read Paper Towns first. Actually I was more curious about The Fault in Our Stars, since this has gotten so famous that the movie adaptation was made and gonna be aired around July 2014. But the book was about 0.99 cent more expensive than Paper Towns so I thought I just tried the later. Yeah, money talked. Lol.I did not expect too much for the first time of reading Green’s But the title itself quite made me wonder when reading the prologue, like what is paper town? Does it has anything to do with the ‘me’ (who is Q, the main character as well as narrator of the story)? or Margo? And it pushed me towards the next page.

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a smal nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this : out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.” Q

I can say I enjoyed reading this novel. Green’s writing style seems to suit my taste, to the point, detailed about the setting, but entertaining. I also love the jokes in this books, told by some characters in this books. It’s so teenagers.

The story itself is interesting, the ideas, the characters, settings. Quentin or Q, as the main character as well as narrator of the story, was shown as a boy who was comfortable with his own life, a good boy to his parents and never made a trouble. Perhaps, the flaw in his life was being bullied by Chuck Parson ever since they knew each other. Also, he had this secret feeling with his childhood friend as well as neighbor, Margo. But he always thought she’s beyond his reach, even though they used to be so close until age 9, because she appeared to be so sociable, popular, but adventurous. She was completely different and in a different world with him. Eventually, an event got him close again with her, which made him able to know her more. But when he thought they could be like they used to be, Margo suddenly disappeared. Only leaving him some clues, which led to the title of this book, Paper Towns.

The searching of Margo didn’t only involve Q alone. Two Q’s best friends, Ben and Radar, and also Margo’s besties and later became Ben’s girlfriend, Lacey, joined Q’s journey. I really like Q, Ben, and Radar’s friendship. Each of them has different character. Ben’s somewhat silly, quite obsessed to have a prom date, often talking about ‘balls’, but fun to get along with. While Radar’s a genius in technology, smart, able to give way out to problems, though he can be dramatic when talking about his parents’ obsession. At first they two had different opinions with Q about Margo’s leaving. Q even happened to have an argument with Ben. But the fight didn’t last long and finally, they voluntarily joined Q and skip school graduation. With Lacey.

“You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpuctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it’s going with my girlfriend — but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you…I’m too obsessed with a reference web site to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually.” Radar

Though Q and Margo are the centre of this story, I prefer Radar and Ben. Radar is so nice and wise as a friend, and quite useful too in technology Lol. He is matured enough in dealing with people though he can be so absorbed when being around his reference website. He is also a good listener and good advisor. While Ben, though he is quite childish and silly, but he could cheer his friends up and a kind that would apologize once he knows he is wrong. And though appear ignorant, he can become the savior of his friends! Just read the book and you will see!

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I wasn’t thinking about none of y’all. I. Wanted. To. Save. My. Ass.” Ben (he said this in one of my favorite scene in this book. So funny Lol)
The characters that are so unpleasant to see is Margo’s parents. I am really grateful that I have parents that are happy to have me around though I make troubles so often. 

Well, the process of finding Margo finally makes Q realize that she may not be who she is known as all these times. Their previous conversation and the clues about paper town(s) helps Q not only finding where Margo is, but also getting close to understand who the real Margo is.

“I didn’t really look down and think about how everything was made of paper. I looked down and thought about how I was made of paper. I was the flimsy-foldable person, not everyone else. And here’s the thing about it. People love the idea of a paper girl. They always have. And the worst thing is that I loved it, too. I cultivated it, you know?” Margo

John Green through Paper Towns is kinda telling us that sometimes people can be mistaken in judging others. They may appear too unreachable for us, because of their status, their unique hobbies that differ from us, or the different peers each of us join. Even I myself often think that people that seem to be so sociable and obnoxious never feel lonely or hurt. Yeah, that makes us forget that they are also a human, who, like us, can also feel facing this world alone. 

Sometimes they become like what we think because we make them to. 

“Margo Roth Spiegelman was a person, too. And I had never quite thought of her that way, not really; it was a failure of all my previous imaginings. All along– not only since she left, but for a decade before– I had been imagining her without listening, without knowing she made as poor a window as I did. And so I could not imagine her as a person who could feel fear, who could feel isolated in a roomful of people, who could be shy about her record collection because it was too personal to share. Someone who might read travel books to escape having to live in the town that so many people escape to. Someone who–because no one thought she was a person– had no one to really talk to.” Q

Also, it’s good to realize the capacity we have to support the one we love, like Q towards Margo. He really loves Margo but he knows who he is and who she is, finally. And that makes him feel sure if he could stay with Margo or not.

“I can’t be you. You can’t be me. You can imagine another well– but never quite perfectly, you know?…”
Well, despite all the goods, I happened to feel so bored in the middle of the story and I was like ‘when will this Margo show up? When will this Q finally find her?’ And after all the enjoyment I got, the ending pissed me off. Quite. It’s not that disappointing actually, but It left me hanging, wondering about the conclusion. I kinda figure it out but still, I want Green to make sure it is like what I am thinking of. 

Yeah, but still, this book is worth your penny. =)

PS : I am sorry if my English is not so good and probably quite difficult to understand.

Rating : 4/5

“When did we see each other face to face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out”